What is it?
The latest version of VW’s affordable coupé. Indeed, the Scirocco nameplate is now in its 40th year, making it the same age as the Golf on which it is based.
Today’s Scirocco is based on the previous generation Mk5/6 Golf, rather than the current MQB-based model, but its crash-test performance is still impressive and it benefits from a multi-link rear axle, unlike some of the cheaper MQB-based cars.
The petrol, turbocharged and EU6-rated 1.4TSI is the entry-level model, which gets 17-inch alloys, LED rear lights, automatic lights and wipers, stop-start, battery energy recuperation tech and a usefully comprehensive audio system.
This latest model has received re-designed bumpers and lights and has a new three-dial instrument cluster (a chronometer, boost gauge and temperature gauge) which nod to the original Scirocco model.
What's it like?
This is a very pleasant machine. Easy going, comfortable, stylish and surprisingly spacious and economical.
It is not a hot-shoe sports car, but it is decently brisk and light on its feet. The Scirocco can be made to react with readiness – and it is now much happier to scythe quickly around tight corners than it was in its 2008 launch guise.
It seems that there’s now just enough rear-wheel steer to give the car’s nose a bit more keenness when pushing into bends. The electro-mechanical steering system also makes a decent fist of giving the driver an idea of what’s happening at the tyre’s contact patch and where the front wheels are placed on the road.
The engine is sweet and smooth enough, but the power band is very narrow. Although the torque peak happens at just 1500rpm, the real power band is between 2000 and 4000rpm, after which the engine’s output tails off markedly, so short-shifting is the best way of making decent progress.
The upside to the warm performance is remarkable economy. Even though the engine was just 1000 miles old on our test car, this six-speed manual returned 48mpg and 44mpg respectively on two inter-urban commutes.
The practical stuff includes a big, very deep, boot and 1000-litres of load space with the rear seats folded. And those rear seats – although tricky to access – are suitable for adults in both head and knee room. The high-back front seats are also notably comfortable.
You also get the usual VW attention to detail: a fine driving and pedal position and a slick clutch and shift action. The interior is restrained and nicely considered, especially the control placement on the centre console and the console storage.
Downsides are probably limited to the chassis’ habit of following the undulating contours of the typical British road surface and some intrusive tyre drone: but that’s hardly unique to the Scirocco.
Should I buy one?
This Scirocco manages to look sharp and be practical and economical, as well as being a pretty brisk and handy car to drive. Interestingly, it seems a very popular car with its owners and one that seems to hold its value well on the second hand car market. I can see why.
The Scirocco offers a hint of the exotic, while remaining eminently useable both as a city car and a long-distance machine.
Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI 125
Price £20,455; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 125mph; Economy 52.3mpg; CO2 125g/km; Kerb weight 1280kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1395cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 123bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 148lb ft at 1400-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual